Graphic: An aircraft with RFDS logo. The sun is setting.

Riverland volunteers raise $67,500 for Flying Doctor

Date published

30 Jul 2019

A dedicated group of local volunteers has raised $67,500 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), representing their fundraising efforts with the support of the Riverland community over the past year.

“At least once a day the RFDS lands in the Riverland to airlift patients to Adelaide for life-saving surgery or specialist medical treatment – at every day from Renmark and twice a week from Waikerie and Loxton,” says Alan Eckermann, President of ‘RFDS Riverland Support Group.

“Those of us living in the country are all too familiar with the tyranny of distance and the importance of access to specialist care in times of medical emergency,” Mr Eckermann says.

“The RFDS provides this vital access, not to just for those of us living in the Riverland, but to more than 15 South Australians every day – in the outback, from the regions and in the city alike,” he says.

Since last year’s donation the RFDS has introduced to operational service the RFDS Medi-Jet 24, South Australia’s first purpose-built aeromedical jet. The $13 million aircraft was funded solely by bequests, sponsorships and donations from the community.

RFDS aircraft flying over paddock

“We feel very humbled to have played our part with others in raising the funds for the RFDS to purchase the ultimate ‘flying intensive care unit’, capable of slashing total mission times of long-haul patient evacuations from the outback or interstate to specialist medical care,” Mr Eckermann says.  

“I extend my sincere thanks to every member of ‘RFDS Riverland Support Group’ for their hard work and commitment, and to our local community for their on-going support of our fundraising activities. So much can be achieved when people work together for a common goal,” he says.

Mr Eckermann presented a $37,500 donation to Lindy Allchurch, Volunteer Coordinator of RFDS Central Operations, at the group’s AGM on Sunday 21 July. The Group had already donated $30,000 earlier in the year – bringing the total funds raised during the year to an incredible $67,500.

“This year’s donation takes the group’s total contribution to the Flying Doctor to more than $575,000 since it began fundraising 27 years ago, which is a remarkable achievement,” Ms Allchurch says.

“The latest donation, like those before, will be used to help meet the shortfall in our operational funding and to finance our capital-raising program for the purchase of our ‘flying intensive care units’ – the next to arrive late this year,” Ms Allchurch says. 

“On behalf of everyone at RFDS – and the thousands of South Australians we airlift every year – we offer our heartfelt thanks for your hard work and service to your local community,” Ms Allchurch said.

Enquiries to get involved with ‘RFDS Riverland Support Group’ are always welcome. Contact Alan Eckermann, President, RFDS Riverland Support Group, on 0427 955 124.